Thursday, 14 May 2015

The Joys of Edinburgh Through the Eyes of a Lolita

As we made our way to Edinburgh, I made a promise to myself that during this holiday I would completely "switch off" from my day-to-day life and just lose myself in the experience. Things had been a little bit stressful for me as of late and I wanted to escape for a while- end of. For the most part, this is exactly what I did but from time to time, there were the odd moments that lolita and Japanese fashion in general came to mind. I have to say, I am now a little jealous of the Scottish Lolitas now! Admittedly I was freezing cold a lot of the time, but there are loads of things for a lolita to do in the city of Edinburgh. And so, going against my original plan, I am now writing a post up about Edinburgh and the more J-friendly aspects of my holiday!

It didn't take me long to find some inspiration in Edinburgh. After settling in after the long drive, the following morning James and I decided to go on a shopping day around the Old Town area. I purposely made a point of going in to this vintage shop called Armstrong's Vintage Emporium after looking it up online. There are a few branches of Armstrong's in Edinburgh but I went in the Grassmarket branch, as it was the one closest to our first hotel. In fact, if anybody reading this happens to go in that branch any time soon, check the guest book- I wrote a message on the 27th of April and you can see my little duck doodle! When I initially went in, I was greeted by loads of tartan. But on closer inspection, there was loads of petticoats and when I looked up, there were lots of vintage hats too. This was just the first room! Going past the sarcophagus by the changing rooms, I discovered 2 more massive rooms full of dresses. I am not joking when I say the tall rooms were stuffed from ceiling to floor. There was stuffed crammed in every nook and cranny. I was so scared I was going to miss something! Considering the sheer volume of stuff on offer, there was a bit of order to the overwhelming displays. The dresses, tops and skirts were arranged by decade and also by colour. I would open up little drawers and find pairs of gloves and there were more boxes with hats and all sorts of bits and pieces. I wasn't intending to spend long in here, but I must have been in there for at least an hour, and I even went back later on in the week! Vintage items can look fantastic mixed in with a classic lolita wardrobe. Even some of the retro pieces could look really good with certain lolita pieces. I was really spoilt for choice with the gloves, tights, blouses, peignoirs and hats. There was lace everywhere! But the best bit is, this place has really good prices. You could get a blouse for about £8. Take it from somebody who has been vintage shopping in the South and in London- £8 for a blouse is very good!

Truth be told, I could have spent a small fortune in there. However, after the incident at Christmas where my wardrobe collapsed because it was too full, I had to be relatively sensible. So in the end, I only actually came out with a few bits. I really wanted to get some blouses but perhaps that can wait until next time. I got a waistcoat which was missing a button, but I decided I don't like the buttons anyway so I am going to replace them. I also found a floppy navy bow tie in the men's section. I haven't quite figured out what I shall do with it yet but I have so much navy blue in my wardrobe that I knew this wasn't that risky a purchase. And because I wanted to take a little bit of Scotland home with me, I also got a vintage kilt pin. I don't own a kilt, so I shall be using it like a normal pin.

The pin I got has a Celtic style to it and if you are in to that sort of thing, you will see a lot of it in Edinburgh. I think Celtic designs could look really interesting in a Gothic outfit. There was definitely plenty of choice. I was seeing Celtic designs on practically every street I walked down and there were loads of Celtic market stalls too. Antique shops are also plentiful in Edinburgh Old Town, so it is worth having a quick check at the jewellery in there too.

If you go down Cockburn Street you will find lots of retro and vintage style shops. There was even one with a Megadrive set up in the corner, so James could play Sonic whilst I was browsing! Some of these shops are more like boutiques and are not as cheap as Armstrong's, so I would recommend checking out Armstrong's first. Also on Cockburn Street, I found a little anime themed shop. The store is tiny, but it is packed with stickers, pins and other small bits. I saw Rilakkuma, Hello Kitty and even some Sailor Moon themed goodies in there, so it is at least worth a quick browse. I would highly recommend not wearing lolita in there though, as I guarantee your petticoat will knock something over. If that wasn't enough to satisfy you anime fans, there is also an anime shop in the downstairs of the Princes St Mall. It reminds me a lot of Tokyo Toys in London but this store is dominated by all things Pokemon. There are many different series in there but Pokemon had by far the biggest selection. There was even a bit in the back where you could sit and play card games. A few people were playing Yu-gi-oh when we went in.

Another great thing about Edinburgh is that there are loads of little cafes with pretty desserts on offer. I was really tempted by this macaron in the window of a cafe on Victoria Street, but sadly I didn't get to go here. At least I got to take a photo. I love looking at cute food. I did get to try Lovecrumbs though, which is a cafe which sells cakes and only cakes! I could definitely go with Lovecrumbs' philosophy... There are also loads of hotels and stuff which offer afternoon tea as well. But if you are looking for something a little more adult, there is an American diner style place called the Filling Station, which does dessert based cocktails! I really wanted to try their Creme Brulee and Key Lime Pie cocktails but sadly I was a bit too full after eating a large lunch there. 

There are loads of free places in Edinbrugh that could be perfect for hosting meets at. The picture above is one I took at the Museum of Childhood. Far from being childish, it is filled with so much history and nostalgia. I loved looking at the doll section, although some of the dolls were a bit creepy looking (I have spared you the worst!). It brought up some memories for me as well, because I used to own one of the lunch boxes they had on display! I cannot recommend this place enough, and it is completely free.

Another free place is the Scottish National Gallery. I especially appreciated the rococo room. My favourite painting was this Gainsborough. 

One of the other fantastic things about Edinburgh is that everywhere you go, there is something worth taking a photograph of. Even the shopping streets feature some stunning buildings and architecture. There are plenty of photo opportunities! I was a bit sad that I had no room to take any lolita with me on holiday (although with the cold weather I probably wouldn't have worn it. We even got caught in a hail storm) because there were many times when I thought I could have gotten some amazing pictures. There are loads of gardens dotted about as well. The Princes Street gardens were in full bloom when I went. The blossom looked beautiful and the flowers would have made a fantastic backdrop for a lolita outfit photo.

So as you may have gathered, I have fallen in love with Edinburgh. I even made James promise me we would make the effort to come back here again sometime. We did so much during our time there, but I hope people enjoyed my representation of the more lolita-friendly aspects of the city.


  1. I'd love to go to Edinburgh, the celtic design things sound nice. One day...

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    1. It is definitely worth a visit. I am already planning to return!


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